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Herbert Hoover (1874–1964)

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0Herbert Hoover (1874–1964)

Hoover was an international hero as food relief administrator during World War I and a popular secretary of commerce, but his single term as president made him a permanent symbol of economic and political disaster.

Hoover was the product of a strong Iowa Quaker background. His parents died before he was ten, and he was then raised by an uncle in Oregon. After graduating from Stanford, he lived outside the United States for nearly twenty years while working as an engineer and businessman. One of his interests was the history of mining, and he collected and had translated Renaissance classics on the subject.

As a public official, Hoover developed a large staff of deferential subordinates who called him “The Chief” and generated favorable publicity on his behalf. He was stiff, formal, humorless, and unyielding in his opinions once he had taken a stand. Those who worked intimately with him always liked him, but he was comfortable only in the company of people who he knew were on his side.

Quote: “We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land.… We have not yet reached the goal, but given a chance to go forward with the policies of the last eight years, we shall soon with the help of God be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this nation.” (Convention acceptance speech, 1928)

REFERENCE: Joan Hoff Wilson, Herbert Hoover: Forgotten Progressive (1975).

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